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Finnish Swedish Heritage Day - Svenska dagen - Embassy of Finland, The Hague : Current Affairs


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News, 10/24/2008

Finnish Swedish Heritage Day - Svenska dagen

The Finnish Swedish Heritage Day is a general flag day, which is celebrated in Finland on 6 November. This year the Finnish Swedish Heritage Day is 100 years old.

The Finnish Swedish Heritage Day was first celebrated in 1908 on the initiative of the Swedish People's Party in order to strengthen the unity of the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. The day is celebrated on the same day that king Gustaf II Adolf of Sweden died (6.11.1632).

In the beginning, the festivities largely circled around the king's persona. During the language strife of the 1930s the celebrations were overshadowed by fights between Finnish and Swedish groups. During the Second World War the both sides enphasized that both language groups were part of Finland. Today the Finnish Swedish Heritage Day is led by Swedish Assembly of Finland. In the 1970s Finnish Swedish Heritage Day became more popular, and from 1979 on it has been an official flag day in Finland. The festivities have become less political and are today perceived as a celebration of the right to use Swedish as a mother tongue.

Finnish and Swedish are the national languages of Finland. There are about 300,000 Swedish-speaking Finns, or 5.6% of the population of Finland. According to the Language Act, Swedish speakers have the right to use their own language in contacts with central government authorities and with the authorities in bilingual municipalities.

The Swedish area in Finland comprises Uusimaa, Turunmaa and Ostrobothnia (coastal areas of mainland Finland) and the Åland Islands.

The railway station of Kauniainen. Photo Fred SnikkersThe railway station of Kauniainen. Photo F. Snikkers

Swedish Assembly of Finland

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Updated 10/24/2008

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